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Prokonversations – with Glenn Vilppu

September 17, 201315 Comments

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Glenn Vilppu, a legendary instructor and artist. His teaching had a significant impact on my life and career. Mr. Vilppu and I had a conversation and I got to ask him some of the questions you guys submitted.

Glenn Vilppu’s website:

– What part of being an artist do you enjoy most?
– Can you recommend a weekly schedule for a studying regime?
– What do you like to do to warm up?
– Is there any problem using a ruler or calipers in drawing, is it better to just use your eyes to measure proportions?
– Favorite color?
– Favorite drawing medium?
– Why do some artists draw a sketch before painting and others paint a la prima?
– I’ve been drawing for years, but I still have trouble making bold, decisive strokes. What do you think about this?
– what do u enjoy more, the process or the end product of your hard work?
– How much time should I spent drawing from observation vs. imagination, and what should I be aware of so that I’m always learning and not just copying the model?
– As you are arranging the model for a figure drawing, what do you look for? Position of body and limbs? Lighting? Facial expression?
– How do beginning artists work through the growing pains of being in the same classroom as more advanced artists.
– Have you encountered many artists who have a severe lack of self-confidence?
– Did you ever doubt yourself when you were starting out or at any time in your career?
– When you draw complete gestures, they come out proportionally close to the finish.
– Is this purely from experience, or do you “see checkpoints” that you don’t actually draw?

Filed in: Misc.Videos

Comments (15)

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  1. Marc says:

    I love how starstruck you were. 🙂 Vilppu is a master, learned a lot thanks to him.

  2. Your interviews with the artists are so fun and interesting!

  3. Ysidro Vasquez says:

    Some time lessening a good one, is better than drawing a bad one!!

  4. Chris says:

    great video! Maybe you could edit the description, to contain links to the video at the time where a particular question was answered? For example – Favorite color? [anwer]

  5. FM says:

    Amazing, vilppu! I enjoyed the interview, thx.

  6. Rich says:

    This interview is a gem….an intimate look into a conversation with two generations of Masters. Thank you for inspiring me beyond words

  7. jrbarker says:

    Great interview! Thanks for posting that. I could here Vilppu talk about art indefinitely!

  8. Carolin says:

    Great interview, Stan. I love the work you do here and am happy to have you, Marshall and Vilppu as my companions in the class room.

  9. Nick Bourantanis says:

    Great interview Stan and thank YOU for picking up the torch and passing on this classical tradition to the rest of us.

  10. beth droppleman says:

    What an inspiring interview! His words about confidence will stick with me for a long time. His wisdom applies not only to art, but to life. He echos a lot of what you are teaching here, Stan, about the importance of gesture, the basics, studying the masters, etc. Best new idea for me: find one element you like about an artist and practice it over and over, make it your own. Best old idea: daily dedicated practice. I will come back and watch this over and over, as with many of your teaching videos. Thanks Stan!

  11. Jimu says:

    Wonderful videos, I watched both Glenn drawing & the interview one after the other. Much wisdom in how to learn, how to develop skill, this is so appropriate across all arts, all mediums…… Really it’s so much about mind set.
    Thanks Stan & Glenn….. The modern world needs more good stuff like this.

  12. Tuula Hukkanen says:

    Loved it! Mr Vilppu is such a wonderful teacher and it is pleasure just to listen to him. This was really good.

  13. Paul says:

    Vilppu’s video courses are painfully long. It takes ages to convery a simple idea. You need the optimism and patience of a Tibetan monk to get through them. I believe the Chinese use them to torture their political prisoners.

    • Kilgore says:

      This is a VERY late answer, but whoever gets to read this, here’s my opinion: I partially agree with Paul here. It’s very grueling to sit through Vilppu’s old videos (I didn’t get to see his new material, but from what I gather they are much more professional) but it’s absolutely worth it. I don’t believe in saying that one particular method is superior to others, but personally Vilppu is the one that I always recommends to starters. He’s the one who best articulates basic anatomical instruction (which tends to be very daunting art first sight) with a very easy to understand constructive procedure. Lots of instructors are very skilled artists, but I’m very hard pressed to think of one as experienced and educated in so many different aspects of Art practice and teaching as Vilppu is. Not to mention, as generous and approachable as he is.

      No, one does not need the patience of a Tibetan monk to sit through his lectures. A Tibetan monk has to spend his whole life to achieve illumination. With Vilppu’s videos, half an hour a day is plenty. The actual lectures are not that long – I’d say at least half of the content is made up of demos and examples. I remember taking copious notes and painstainkgly copying every one of his diagrams and demos (that’s what the pause button is for) in the course of a year of self-study. No, it wasn’t always “fun”, but actual education very rarely is. I’ve since moved on to other sources of study, but I’ve always gone back to the approach and work philosophy I’ve learned with Vilppu.

      I’m not saying everyone HAS to go with Vilppu, but I think anyone who’s minimally serious about art (or anything else worth doing) has to be prepared for a bumpy and sometimes monotonous road. You have to practice scales before you play like Segovia.

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